Bennington Marble and Granite of North Bennington begins and ends with the | family Business

BENNINGTON — There’s a small, hardy father-and-son business located on a quiet, gravel road on the outskirts of North Bennington that does things the way Vermont is known for — practically from start to finish.

Bennington Marble and Granite has been in the same location for decades, just a duo with no other employees, in an unassuming barn next to their home, where they cut, shape, polish and create beautiful kitchen countertops and designs from some of the most stunning, unique, natural and engineered stone in the world. Bennington Marble and Granite imports its stone from nearly every state and country in the world, from local Vermont marble to the highest quality Brazilian granite and soapstone and everywhere in between.

“My father immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s when he was about 14 years old,” says John Cicirello Jr. “They came from Calabria, Italy, one of 13 children. All the men in his family were involved in one trade or another. Masons, carpenters, farmers. My dad worked a lot of jobs before we opened this place.”

As a young man, John Cicirello Sr. worked odd jobs in Connecticut, where the family first landed, as a factory worker in an assembly plant, landscaping, a stone mason for many years, building stone walls and patios, and hauling cement about an “evil old Italian” immigrant, Pasquale Vento, who was a hard boss, a perfectionist, but taught him a lot about working with stone.

“Eighty years old, but he can still kick my ass,” John Sr. says with a wink and a chuckle.

“My dad used that on me, too,” John Jr. says, waving at his dad as he laughs. “So I guess it worked.”

From there, John Sr. started a successful landscaping business. Then, in 1995, the family moved to Vermont to be closer to extended family. John Sr., noticing the demand for tile, decided to take over an empty wing of an old factory on Sage Street in North Bennington with two business partners, one of whom specialized in stone and tile.

This building turned into the green mountain marble and granite. In the beginning, they mainly deal with interior tiling, laying floors in bathrooms and kitchens. Yet, after many years, the difficult work of tiling took its toll. They branched out into slab work, making countertops, vanities, benches, fireplace surrounds and bathtub decks using stone from around the world.

John Jr. joined the business in 1998. After the partnership dissolved in 2004, father and son moved the operation to a barn they built on Lamb Road, right next to his home, renaming it Bennington Marble and Granite. John Sr. recently semi-retired, so mostly John Jr. works with customers and cuts the massive stone pieces, but Dad is a welcome presence in the shop.

Bennington Marble and Granite works directly with the customer.

“Sometimes I work with their contractor, or a designer, or an architect, but at the end of the day it’s about that personal, one-on-one relationship with the client. You won’t find that at Home Depot,” John Jr. says.

Bennington Marble and Granite customers can come directly to the Lamb Road facility or one of its distributors to see and feel the different stones and talk to John Jr. about their ideas. He works with them to make their dream kitchen or creative project a reality.

John Jr. says there’s always someone with direct knowledge of the product and process, a little old-world craftsmanship in a throwaway world. Customers can speak directly to the person who cuts the stone, the person who does the final installation, rather than a sales representative or a kid temporarily working in the counter department. This is a rarity today.

“I know it’s a cliché, quality over quantity, but it’s true,” says John Jr. “It all comes down to the time we spend with our customers and our hands-on experience with the people and these products.”

John Jr. tells the story of a recent couple who had a unique kitchen.

“I spent almost four hours working with them in the shop, arranging the slab pieces that would eventually become their kitchen, matching the veins and seams in the stone with the different pieces to achieve what they wanted. I’m very proud of that. I measure, cut, pattern, polish and mount these parts. If something goes wrong, it’s my fault,” he says.

It doesn’t stop there. Bennington Marble and Granite also removes old countertops if there is no one to do it for the homeowner. They have also installed temporary sinks for people so they don’t have to use the bathroom.

“We do whatever it takes to get the job done,” John Jr. says. “We’ll take care of it. We’ve been doing other projects, floating benches and farmhouse sinks, so many things lately. It’s hard to remember them all.”

Although the business continues to grow, John Jr. hopes it doesn’t get too big.

“We want to stay small as much as we can,” John Jr. says. “We never want to be overwhelmed. It’s really busy now with all the new people coming in, but we know there are downs, with good times and bad. I know that eventually there has to be growth, but the number one thing is that we want to always offer the best quality in what we do. … To maintain this quality, we cannot grow too much. We want to stay mother and father in Vermont or in this case father and son. This is important to us.”

Leave a Comment